Use Internal Audits to Identify Process Gaps & Deficiencies

Posted by on Oct 1, 2012 in Continuous Improvement, Process Improvement | 0 comments

A technique to help you improve your manufacturing or transactional processes and make them more effective is to simply audit them at some defined frequency.  Processes that aren’t working well, i.e., generating rework, take too long, out-of-control, etc. are usually caused by too much variation or waste in the system.

Not long ago, I worked with a company that had a problem with accounts receivable past dues.  When we analyzed what was going on, it became quickly apparent that the issues were mostly due to a lack of procedures and work instructions.  I asked if they had an internal audit process and they quickly responded that it was a waste of time and that they did not want to audit their professional people.  If an internal audit had been used, it would have quickly found the lack of procedures and work instructions and they would have been well on their way to solving or reducing their problem.

As I have said many times before, all variation is a result of the 6M’s, i.e., Man, Machine, Method, Material, Measurement, and Mother Nature.  Especially in transactional processes, where Man and Method are the predominate sources of variation, an effective internal audit process can be of great value to help you uncover gaps and deficiencies in your systems and make them more efficient.

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